Locksmithing/Art metal safe


I have a large art metal safe, the near 6 foot tall 4 foot deep thin sheet metal  version. It has an S&g lock from what I can tell through research, crows foot at 12 o'clock, 1 o'clock is the change mark. I don't have the combination and I've tried some of your combinations to no avail. My question is if I call someone to have them open it will they have to drill or damage the safe?

Hi Nick,

I'm not sure what combinations you have tried or where you got them, but they are not mine.   Manufacturers do NOT have any try out combinations or factory numbers.   Every safe was set with a unique and individual combination.   Standard S&G locks have the capability of up to 1,000,000 possible combinations.

My recommendation would be for you to contact a local safe company to have their safe technician open the safe for you.    As far as how they open it - this depends on a lot of things - first would be the type of lock on the container.   As Art Metal made a lot of containers for the military, many of them have Group 1, manipulation resistive locks.    It is not profitable for a safe technician to waste his time trying to open these locks.   
Second problem - even if your container has a Group 2 type lock, you may not have anyone trained in manipulation available.    Contrary to Movie magic, manipulation is not an easy task, while the knowledge is not that difficult, it still takes years of training and practice for someone to become proficient with this skill.

Drilling the safe when done correctly will not damage or ruin the safe.    I doubt you would take your car to a mechanic who would indicate that they can change the oil, but they will ruin the engine doing it.    Similarly, I'm not sure why you might use a safe technician or locksmith who could not open the safe without ruining it????

Unfortunately, there are a lot of locksmiths with very little training or knowledge in the field, who will advertise that they can open your safe, but it is up to you to determine if they actually have the skill level to do it to your satisfaction.

Next problem with your container - Art Metal was known to use asbestos as an insulation material in the container.   As long as the container insulation is sealed, it doesn't pose a threat or problem, however if a hole is drilled into the container ensure that the material is captured and properly disposed of, and the hole is properly sealed afterwards.

I would recommend your contacting John Soderland at:

Professional Safe & Lock Service Inc.
5132 West Howard Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53220

If John can't help you, he may know of someone closer to you and the safe.

Hope this helps,  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service Area is Northern California (Fresno to Oregon and Western Nevada)

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.